“Be praised, Good Lord, for Sister Death, who welcomes us in loving embrace. Be praised, my Lord, for all your creation serving you joyfully.”—St. Francis of Assisi, “Canticle of Creation,” 1225Those who have visited Old Mission Santa Barbara (founded in 1786) and have seen the mausoleum before its 2011 renovation may be in for a surprise on their next visit. Centered in the historic cemetery at the Mission, this circa 1893 stone structure has been retrofitted and improved to include a new columbarium with niches for interment of people of all faiths and goodwill. While serene and simple, it is also elegant with a striking marble San Damiano cross design as well as several artistic features and details. The original portion of the mausoleum was built in 1878. Three different times over the years, the building was expanded to provide the needed space for the Franciscan friars that passed. It is now the resting place for 119 friars, 11 Franciscan Sisters and 44 lay people with important connections to the Old Mission, to the history of the Santa Barbara area, and to the Franciscans.Handcrafted “tau cross” light fixtures and a 200-year-old reclaimed Spanish terra cotta floor tiles highlight the newly resurfaced granite vault covers that identify many of Santa Barbara’s earliest residents, including notable Chumash Indians, members of local families, and many Franciscan friars.Among those interred at Old Mission Santa Barbara is Bishop Francisco Garcia Diego y Moreno (1785-1846), a Franciscan and the first bishop of the new diocese of California created in 1840, which at the time covered both Alta and Baja Californias.Other notable individuals include:—Tomás Ygnacio Aquino (1871-1952), the last of the Mission-era Canale√±o (Barbare√±o Chumash) Indians.—Franciscan Father James O’Keefe (1842-1915), rebuilder of Mission San Luis Rey.—Juana Maria (died 1853), the famed Lone Woman of St. Nicholas Island.—Ygnacio Sepulveda (1842-1916), noted judge and lawyer in Los Angeles County and Mexico City.—Franciscan Father Zephyrin Engelhardt (1851-1934), California historian and Mission specialist.This coming All Souls Day (Nov. 2) offers an especially appropriate occasion for a visit, with the celebration of a Mass in memory of the dead at noon in the mausoleum. All are invited to visit the Mission throughout All Souls Day (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) and write in the memorial book the names of loved ones who have died, “in order that they might be included in our prayers and special remembrances,” said Franciscan Brother Eric Pilarcik, mausoleum director and one of more than a half-dozen Franciscan Brothers who serve at the tenth of the 21 California missions.All Souls Day marks one year since the mausoleum’s rededication by Santa Barbara Region Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry. The event celebrated the continuation of the Franciscans’ (Order of Friars Minor) ministry of caring for both the remains of the dead, and their surviving families and loved ones.As part of the commitment to preserve and enhance the treasure that is the Old Mission, Brother Eric Pilarcik pointed out that a complete earthquake retrofit was completed on the Historic Mausoleum. In conjunction with this work, several important interior and exterior enhancements were completed as well. The project included a number of essential repairs that addressed years of aging and deterioration. “These improvements will serve to protect the structure from ground water and other environmental damage and guard the overall structural integrity,” he said. “All construction followed historical guidelines and assured that the integrity of the mausoleum is being maintained.”Santa Barbara Mission is a nationally designated historic landmark and home to the Mission Renewal Center for retreats, an active parish (St. Barbara), a museum and the Santa Barbara Mission Archive-Library. Each year, the Mission welcomes tens of thousands of students and visitors.For more information about the mausoleum, contact Brother Pilarcik, Old Mission Santa Barbara, 2201 Laguna St., Santa Barbara, CA 93105; (805) 569-5483; www.thmsb.com.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2012/1102/sbcemetery/{/gallery}